Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Empty Nest

The trilling was unmistakable at 5 am this morning. My first thought was "Could the baby robins already be out of their nest?" Four robins hopped about the front lawn. Two were parents hard at work looking for food to fill their insatiable babies' bellies. The other two - one hovering near the adult male and the other with the female - were almost as big as the parents, but their throats and chests were marked with the spots of babyhood. When spooked, the young birds flew into the bushes or the low branches of a nearby tree.

Could these be the same babies I saw crammed together in their nest just last night? I ran down to the back deck and checked the nest. Empty!

What an amazing treat to have witnessed the growth of these two robin chicks. My first photo taken on May 2 showed a completely constructed empty nest. Next, two eggs were evident by May 7 and the first chick hatched around the 21st. The sibling debuted two days later on the 23rd. By the 29th, the two chicks were already feathered. I expected more of an awkward fledgling stage, but by today, June 3, they were out and about and doing quite well with their first flights. So much progress in the span of one month. Watch the progression on this slide show.

American Robins can produce 2-3 sets of chicks per breeding season, so these parents won't be resting for quite some time. Usually, they will construct a new nest in a new location. This first set of chicks will continue to beg for food from the parents and will remain within this area for the remainder of the summer.

Here are a couple of photos of the speckled chested chicks begging for food.

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